TAKE SOME TIME OFF
While some employees that you’ve had to fire are a quick and efficient process, this is an exceptional circumstance and it takes time and care. It’s a process. A long game. If things aren’t working out from a business perspective, encourage some time off, giving the opportunity for him/her to step back from the business in a natural way. It gives him/her time outside of the office to do other projects and things he/she loves, and the conclusion to not return might come naturally. It will also give you both time to think things over and look at the situation outside of heated meeting rooms and intense business conversations.
It is a tough decision to make, but be kind while you do it. Remember, this person is the key to your happiness at home and that’s not an apple cart you want to tip over. Be caring and respectful of their involvement in the business. Often, you’ve started the business together, so it’s important to acknowledge their influence in growing the company to where it is today and the positive impact they’ve had.
Naturally how you handle this situation will depend on why the problem has arisen in the first place, but if you find that it’s down to a power struggle or just lacking chemistry, take each other away on a weekend and conduct an autopsy of the company. Look at everyone’s roles and how necessary they are, and the conversation will lead to your own roles. It opens up space to talk about it and allows you to see if continuing down a certain path is the right decision.
We’re not going to lie, it’s a delicate situation and needs to be handled with the care of a baby deer. However, if both people are dedicated to the business and dedicated to the team and their families who work within it, you’ll arrive at the right conclusion. If things are getting awkward and uncomfortable, think about your responsibility to your team and their families. As a couple you have a duty to care for them, and that will always guide you through any awkward moments.